Just finished reading India after Gandhi. It is a book written by Ramachandra Guha, an Indian historian and economist. I must say it carries intricate details of the post-independence era. One thing, however, needs a mention that the book completely and absolutely revolves around Nehruism.
Someone has rightly said that people are trapped in history and history is trapped in them. This book made me realize how true that is and how ignorant we are of the factual reality. Our academic books did not cover any of these and we have no good reason to distil the facts. We were made to study the Akbars and Aurangzebs, however, never was there a clear picture of what happened post-independence.
The book unveils all the challenges, disturbances and also on various occasions reinstates, how none other than Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru could run the country, shattered in pieces. Quote unquote, Pandit Nehru followed and directed Gandhi Ji’s dreams and principles. Both wanted a secular country—one not divided by religion, caste, creed, ideologies, and language. I believe, this became the base for all irrelevant measures taken or important actions not taken, during the period after Gandhi.
Little did it talk about Lal Bahadur Shastri. Where we all until date, speculate and debate reasons of his death, Guha in one line has simply presented saying, he died of a heart attack. Period!
The era of Indira Gandhi’s regime is then described very meticulously in full length and breadth. Guha is known to have his loyalties towards Nehru dynasty and the Left-wing. Time and again he has also been criticized to distort facts and truths, however, I’m not the right person to comment on that as I, and rather all of us have been kept aloof of the real facts.
What we have is the Left version of facts and the Right version. Till date, we do not know what’s the actual version of ‘India After Gandhi’. The best thing about the book is, if you are not thoroughly aware of the flow of incidents or the background, you will get ample of information and knowledge here. The book covers a lot of chronological details wherein, you’ll not just refresh your memory but also fill the gaps of historical events.
My advice would be to chew this book, but do not digest it. This 900 pages book is addictive, interesting and at least worth a read. You must always know all sides of the version to make the right choice. The ball is in your court!
Please leave in comments, your opinion about the book review or the book, if you have read it.
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We often plan big things for ourselves without knowing what the next moment hold for us. Corona came to our lives in one such way–unpredictable, unexpected and without any prior warning. People initially took it as just another news, until the hard-hitting news of rising death tolls from neighbouring countries and the Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation hit our screens.
Was it too difficult to understand that we are facing a global pandemic and have to follow some precautionary measures? Well, I fail to understand how and why. Much before the Janta Curfew, I asked my domestic help if she was aware of the situation and she told me two things; firstly, there’s some disease which is being spread (she, of course, wasn’t much aware of the details) and secondly, to keep distance with people who have cough and fever. I added whatever more information I could add to her knowledge and told her to keep washing her hands, use sanitizer despite washing which I had kept especially for her and also maintain hygiene in her family and teach her kids the same. One more day at work and Janta Curfew was announced. We both have been at our respective houses since then.
The point I want to make here is that if the government has a role to play in such a crisis, so does the community. We can complain endlessly about what the government is not doing or should have done better, while we as an individual fail to carry our small responsibilities of educating people of the situation, if not more. Nevertheless, these testing times I’m sure shall bring some positive changes in every individual’s life. Somewhere, in the daily race of making a living, we had forgotten what the essence of life is–What it means to be with the family without taking a call or being on WhatsApp, how fun it is to catch up with childhood or college friends and exchange some pictures of the birthdays we used to attend, how sometimes cooking becomes a recreational activity for partners and taking care of your mind, body and soul brings out a new you.
Sounds great, isn’t it? So here I am sharing all that the first week of quarantine taught me.
Being at home – I think the most challenging phase was the first 2-3 days when I was clueless and did not know how to spend time simply sitting at home. I was going crazy! There was no specific time to sleep, but the waking up happened to be on the usual time dot 6.30 am and then do what? On the third day, I made up my mind to sleep on time and plan my next day to finish most of my work during the office hours. Read a book in the night and fall asleep. I have successfully learned the art of being at home.
Managing my chores – It has mostly been either office work or home chores for me. For the first time, I could plan my day and manage 100 per cent of both simultaneously without compromising on any of the two. My home looks like a prettier version of home, with cleaner and greener corners as I’ve strategically placed green plants in my living area. It feels good!
Finding time for self – Despite double the work, spend time on social media, watch News and web series, do something creative at least one day a week. But, most importantly exercise/ yoga and meditation for physical and mental development is extremely crucial in today’s time, which was missing from my daily routine. No matter how hard I tried with work, the daily driving and traffic took a toll and I ended up exasperated with no energy left to do anything by the time I was back home. This only energizes me and keeps me super active to be more productive.
Finishing all pending tasks – Pick all the pending tasks one by one be it some half-done painting, a craft, a write-up or a novel; finish it off. There will be no better time than this. If you look at the positive side, you have also been wanting this time for yourself. Now that you are doing some good by being at home, do some good cleaning the clutter and finishing the unaccomplished projects.
Getting over of online shopping addiction – Yes, a very common thing and thanks to this time when all online services are suspended, I find myself withdrawing the cravings of shopping online. Although groceries, veggies and milk do become a necessity, I still feel better without having the urge to buy anything non-utility!
Reading books I never had time to finish – Pick a book you always wanted to read but knew had no time to finish. I have picked up a book on Indian history I always wanted to finish. I tried twice reading it earlier but left it mid-way because of the lack of time. I’m glad I could make it this time.
Planning itineraries I have been dreaming of – Most of you would know by now, how big a travel freak I am. One thing I love the most doing nowadays is planning itineraries for my dream destinations. This might sound weird, but by doing this I keep myself updated on my favourite subject while I plan for my future travel. Additionally, as I have been counselling some folks on travelling, I am doing my bit and preparing myself well in advance.
All in all, I am an extremely optimistic person who has firmly believed since a very young age that whatever happens happens for good. I have the least doubt that these testing times certainly have something good in store for everyone. However, waiting for the time to get over and do nothing will be insane. Get up, make a wishlist of the things you always wanted to pursue or complete but could not due to lack of time and take it one-by-one. The satisfaction you will get after you start achieving them will be unparalleled. I shared my wishlist with you, time to know yours. Leave in comments some of the things you always wanted to do and now getting the time to do it. Stay home, stay safe and upgrade yourself for the post-quarantine period.